Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.
When two servants of evil escape during young Roland’s watch, he is driven by his own shame and vanity to take up his axes and track them down himself. Raised on the rural edges of Gallhallad, can he survive the dangers and complexity of the road ahead?With the help of his lifelong friend Eldryn, the Cavalier hopeful, and an uneasy bargain with a dagger wielding cutpurse, Roland pursues a wizard of unknown powers and a woman of uncommon beauty and skill.Will Roland’s vanity not only doom him, but a kingdom he hoped to one day serve as well?In Roland’s world of Stratvs, vanity has a high price. A price paid with the blood of the innocent and the guilty. Around him, swords once pledged to justice rust on the altars of the self-righteous.
Roland and Eldryn are young men who have large shoes to fill. Roland is trying to live up to his father’s expectations and has his first test before him when two prisoners escape under his watch. This leads to an epic adventure across the lands where danger is around every corner, friends are few and knowledge and training make the difference between life and death. Roland and Eldryn make an alliance with a cutpurse to help them track down and return the escaped prisoners. They will be tested, challenged and hunted. Will they be able to survive, return the prisoners and fight with enough honor to make their ancestors proud?
Rolands Path reminded me of an extended Dungeons and Dragons session. That is not an insult in any way. I love those types of adventures and any time I can go on an epic quest with a well written character, I am on board. The best moments of this book were full of action and heroic sword battles. The action is constant and very well detailed. The danger is palpable and it never feels guaranteed that any of the main characters are going to survive the next minute, let alone to the end of the book. At its best this story feels like something that could sit next to R.A. Salvatore’s famous Homeland book, although with a less flawed protagonist than that series has.
While the heroes are well fleshed out and there was a good sense of where they came from and what they wanted, the villains were another story. Their motivations were unclear and some of the tactics they were using did not always make sense. Some of this is probably due to the fact that this is the first in a series of books and hopefully these characters will be more well developed in the future books.
This was close to a four star book, except for the vague definition of the villains and the fact that there are a lot of distracting spelling mistakes. The ride is fun and the action is good. If you are a fan of fantasy books, this is a good one to pick up. The follow up is sure to be an exciting ride and something to look forward to.
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